Unearthing Treasures from Trash

I love to thrift. There’s something uniquely entertaining about sifting through piles and shelves of assorted brick a brack, and something undeniably satisfying about diving into it without a guarantee of success and emerging with something great. It’s like when an old friend texts you out of the blue to say “hello”, or when a butterfly perches right next to you to sun itself. It’s a gift, of sorts.  The thrill of the bargain, and a more intimate experience than copy/pasting a coupon code or picking through three dozen identical tops on a clearance rack. Way before Mackelmore brought the joy of the thrift shop into vogue in 2012, I was a wee, wide-eyed treasure hunter combing through Goodwill and Salvation Army stores with my mom and grandma, learning how to spot a deal and bumming a dollar to buy that stuffed animal I liked.  As you can probably tell, the love of thrift has stuck with me, so it’s also not surprising that my adulthood finds me managing a secondhand store myself.

Second Chance of Charlotte is a secondhand furniture and home decor store that solicits business on behalf of our charity partner Project 658, a nonprofit that serves at-risk and underprivileged families in the Charlotte area. We’re also a sister company with the Junkluggers, which is where we get the majority of our inventory. In a nutshell, the Junkluggers remove items from their clients’ homes, garages, yards, storage units, or businesses with the pledge to keep as much of the removed material out of the landfill as humanly possible. That means recycling broken TVs and ancient refrigerators, and making a lot of phone calls to make sure every IV pole and dog kennel is given to a nonprofit that needs it. Second Chance was actually started by the Junkluggers to benefit our community with the furniture they remove – because let’s face it, a charity can do a lot more with $100 than they can with a denim upholstered loveseat and five-foot-tall wooden cutlery (no, I’m not making these up). The Junkluggers remove the furniture and bring it to Second Chance, where we clean it, repair it, and send it back out into the world. The proceeds are sent to Project 658, and the original owner of the furniture is sent a tax-deductible receipt for their donation.

On paper, it’s not very exciting. Sure, it’s wonderful to support charity and save the planet, but this kind of business model has existed since forever, and there are thrift stores in every neighborhood of every city in the country. I know I’m lucky. I get to see the exciting parts from the inside. I’m in the nitty-gritty, unearthing twentieth century barrel-top trunks from piles of rubbish and peeling away dry-rotted wicker seats to see the wrought iron bench underneath get a shot at beautifying a garden again. I’ve seen antique tiger oak buffet rescued from someone’s backyard and upcycled into a beautiful bar, and dressers that just needed a few screws tightened and new hardware scooped up by families who couldn’t (or like me, didn’t want to) buy brand new furniture for their homes.

And I love it. I love the silly old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, tired and overused as it is. Because it’s true, and it’s timely. We’ve all heard the statistics about waste – 230 million tons of solid waste are produced by the US every year, approximately. Almost five pounds of waste per person per day, with less than a quarter of it ever being recycled, even though 70% of it could be. We all have different opinions on how big an impact this is having on the globe, but most everyone who uses money to provide for their day-to-day needs can agree that that’s a lot of resources to just toss into a hole in the ground or into an incinerator. And to sentimental types like me, it’s also a lot of wasted opportunity.

So much of what we throw away still has life left in it, and I’m not talking about composting coffee grounds and recycling cereal boxes, as important as those are.  I’m talking about what we do when we’re moving and our mom’s armoire doesn’t fit the modern style of our new apartment, or what we do when we need someplace to put toilet paper in our bathroom because the cabinet under the sink is full of cleaners.  Sometimes push comes to shove and you need to just haul the armoire out to the curb or go order the cheapest over-the-toilet shelf from Amazon.  Life is busy and chaotic — there’s no shame in that.  But if you have a moment to pause and think about it, you’ll find much more interesting solutions – on Pinterest, on Google, from your friends and neighbors.  You don’t need tons of artistic skill to turn an old armoire into a cool liquor cabinet, just some paint and the guts to use it.  And hanging shelving for your TP is only a rescued wood plank and two lengths of rope away, and is almost guaranteed to be more attractive than the plastic thing you found online.

Our goal at Second Chance is to help people see the potential in their unwanted stuff, in the “junk” they ask the Luggers to haul away.  Because maybe you don’t have the time/energy/paint/desire to make over your mom’s armoire, but chances are, someone else does.  Or someone else didn’t need their weirdly skinny corner shelves anymore, but man wouldn’t they be perfect in your bathroom?

It’s an exciting thing, to find that perfect piece to complete your bathroom or living room or stair landing, and so rewarding when you know you rescued it from an untimely demise, or made it beautiful with your own hands.  And the truly exciting thing is that it doesn’t require any more effort of you than a trip to the furniture store or comparing prices online.  It’s as simple as making a phone call, or opening Facebook, or picking out paint.

Now, go find that treasure!

Kassidi Gniadek, Store Manager

Second Chance

521-C Pitts School Rd NW

Concord, NC 28027

704-292-6226


Simplicity Serves

 

Love organizing and looking for a way to give back to those in need?
There are lots of families in Charlotte facing difficult circumstances and are overwhelmed by life’s challenges.  Simplicity offers complimentary organizational services to those who are unable to afford our services.

 

We are in search of volunteers to offer their time and organizational skills.
If you are interested in this opportunity we  would love to invite you to our next Simplicity Serves Information Meeting!


Our next meetings are Wednesday, November 7th from 10am-11am and Tuesday, November 13th from 10am-11am.  

Please contact info@simplicity-organizers.com for more information.


Garage Organization Day With the Bremers

 

Part of Simplicity’s mission is to serve the Charlotte community with our gift of organization.  A few months ago at the ChariTea fundraiser event for the Charlotte Rescue Mission, Sharon Bremer mentioned that she really needed our services.  When asked what area of her home needed our services the most, she quickly said her garage. Sharon had just wrapped up her final treatment of  chemotherapy, so we decided there was no better gift to her family than the gift of organization. Soon after, we informed Sharon that our company would be coming to work alongside of her and help her organize her garage.  To understand more about our process, we asked Sharon to share about her experience working with Simplicity…

What was your reaction when Simplicity told you they were volunteering to organize your garage?  

I was overwhelmed with joy and SO surprised.  It is something I have been wanting to do for years.

 

Describe your garage prior to Simplicity arriving.  

Disheveled.  We have been stockpiling items for about 9 years including kids toys, camping gear, paint, old files, photos, etc…  

 

 

What feelings did you have when you came home to a driveway full of your stuff?  I could not believe that all of that “stuff” had been in our garage for so long.  I am not sure where we hid it all.

 

What was the process like having Simplicity work alongside of you?   

Simplicity made it easy.  When I came home everything was laid out in our driveway.  All I had to do was go through each pile and say keep, throw out, or donate.  Then they organized by section (sports, entertainment, camping, holiday, etc…) A few hours later the sweetest man, Vincent McCullough, with Trinity Painters, took our old paint to recycle and Junkluggers took the rest to donate and trash.  Simplicity lined up all the vendors and it was so such a relief to have it all completed in one day.

How long do you think it would have taken you to organize your garage on your own?

Well, with the help of Simplicity, it took 16 hours to organize the garage.  I don’t think I would ever organized like that. I think I would have given up after 2 days of going through old stuff.  It is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining, so to have a motivated and experienced team-made the entire process easy.

 

How has this experience impacted you and your family?  

My kids are actually keeping their toys and sports equipment organized.  Before they would throw it anywhere. Now everything has its place which saves SO much time when heading to the ball field.  Now when I go into the garage I feel at peace whereas before I felt anxious from all of the chaos. Having Simplicity organize our garage has made us realize the importance of organizing other rooms in the house to free up all the clutter.

 


2018 READ a Book, GIVE a Book Celebration!

Reading is a life skill and it is unfortunate that during the summer months, many students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school. Summer reading loss negatively impacts our struggling readers, and ultimately our entire community. Children who do not have access to books or adults who can read to them are especially susceptible to falling behind over the summer.

As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 1/2 years behind their peers in terms of reading ability.

Simplicity Organizers is hosting our annual book drive in the month of May. We are encouraging the Charlotte community to donate gently used children’s books (PreK-5th Gr.) to our READ A BOOK, GIVE A BOOK celebration. 

This year we will be donating the books again to Windsor Park Elementary in hopes that every single student will be able to take home several books to read over the summer!

We would love for you to partner with us and help us reach our goal of collecting 4,000 books this May!

Click here to download our Read a Book, Give a Book Flyer

Books can be dropped off at Windsor Park Elementary, My Gym or One Hott Mama Maternity

or email Simplicity to find a book drop off location near you:

Ballantyne, Barclay Downs, Cotswold, Dilworth, Matthews, Myers Park & Southpark

Simplicity Organizers

info@simplicity-organizers.com

704.464.3713

Windsor Park Elementary

3910 Sudbury Road 28205

980.343.6405


READ a Book, GIVE a Book

 

2017 READ a Book, GIVE a Book Celebration!

Reading is a life skill and it is unfortunate that during the summer months, many students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school. Summer reading loss negatively impacts our struggling readers, and ultimately our entire community. Children who do not have access to books or adults who can read to them are especially susceptible to falling behind over the summer.

As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 1/2 years behind their peers in terms of reading ability.

Simplicity Organizers is hosting our annual book drive in the month of May. We are encouraging the Charlotte community to donate gently used children’s books Preschool – 5th grade to our READ A BOOK, GIVE A BOOK celebration. This year we will be donating the books to Windsor Park Elementary in hopes that every single student will be able to take home several books to read over the summer!

We would love for you to partner with us and help us reach our goal of collecting 5,000 books this May!

Click here to download our Read a Book, Give a Book Flyer

Books can be dropped off at Windsor Park Elementary or email Simplicity to find a book drop off location near you:

Ballantyne, Barclay Downs, Cotswold, Dilworth, Matthews, Myers Park & Southpark

Simplicity Organizers

info@simplicity-organizers.com

704.464.3713

Windsor Park Elementary

3910 Sudbury Road 28205

980.343.6405

 


Use Your Gifts for Good

Earlier this year Simplicity and Carolina Organizers volunteered their skills for a major transformation of the Fashion & Compassion’s* jewelry room. Even Laurie Martin, the team leader at Simplicity, was speechless when she first stepped into the room and saw the huge quantities of beads to be organized!

Our jewelry room is the where the heart of our ministry in Charlotte happens… Women overcoming human trafficking, addiction, incarceration, domestic abuse, as well as refugees and immigrants find purpose, peace and community in this room as they create the beautiful jewelry designs we sell to fund our work. These women’s lives are often full of chaos – when they come to Fashion & Compassion and we want them to find hope and healing rather than disorder and disarray.

Fashion Compassion sorting

Creative-types aren’t known for their organizational skills and this is true for our wonderful jewelry-project staff! They have amazing design skills and huge hearts, but keeping thousands of beads in order is not their specialty. We’re so grateful that Simplicity and Carolina Organizers took our project on… Simplicity developed a plan and we secured the supplies needed, then a dozen of Charlotte’s finest professional organizers went to work sorting and arranging beads for 2-3 hours one weekday night. Our jewelry room was transformed! The atmosphere of the room now matches the peaceful, happy spirit of the rest of the beautiful 116-year old Victorian house in Dilworth we call home.

Fashion Compassion beads

Everyone has unique gifts and skills this world is desperate for. I’m grateful that Simplicity and Carolina Organizers blessed us with the gift of their skills and time – we were certainly in desperate need! What do you have to offer to a world in need? Creativity, bringing order out of chaos, or one of millions of other gifts and skills? Consider what you have to offer and find a place where you can use your gifts for good.

Fashion Compassion

*Fashion & Compassion is a 501c3 non-profit organization providing part-time, transitional employment to women (and some men) in vulnerable communities around the world – including Charlotte! Fashion & Compassion’s products are available for sale at their website and their local boutique and workshop located at 1717 Cleveland Avenue. Please consider shopping with a purpose at Fashion & Compassion as you purchase gifts for loved ones this holiday season.

Fashion Compassion leader

By Michele Dudley, Executive Director, Fashion & Compassion

 

 


Read a Book, Give a Book Celebration

Read a Book, Give a Book

 

2016 READ a Book, GIVE a Book Celebration!

Reading is a life skill and it is unfortunate that during the summer months, many students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school. Summer reading loss negatively impacts our struggling readers, and ultimately our entire community. Children who do not have access to books or adults who can read to them are especially susceptible to falling behind over the summer.
As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2.5 years behind their peers in terms of reading ability.

This year Simplicity hosted their annual book drive with Augustine Literacy Project and Freedom School Partners in the month of May. A huge thank you to the Charlotte community for donating gently used children’s books to our Read a Book-Give a Book celebration. This year we donated 6,465 books to Montclaire and Rama Road elementary schools so every student will take home several books to read over the summer! A special thanks to Promising Pages for collecting 2,600 books!

 


The Relatives Basement Transformation

I first started volunteering at The Relatives 8 years ago after hearing about this Safe Place house through a friend.

safeplace-logo

The Relatives is a 24-hour, 365-day a year facility that answers crisis calls and houses children ages 7-17 for up to 14-days, even walk-ins.

I wanted a place to volunteer with my children who were young teens and needed a little perspective. I immediately fell in love with the mission, the staff and the organization. I was blessed to join the staff 4 years ago in the development office as well as coordinating volunteer activities.

In all of those years, the basement at the Relatives has always been a project that the staff (and volunteers) would roll their eyes in frustration with any attempt to make it better for the children and teens. It was too overwhelming to even know where to begin. The basement is a space designed for the children who come to us, to get what they need in order to make them feel at home in the Dilworth shelter. I have never seen the basement any way other than unorganized and cluttered…until the wonderful ladies from Simplicity came to save the day!

Relatives Volunteers

Simplicity teamed up with College Hunks Hauling Junk to volunteer an entire day sorting, organizing and hauling off many items that were not appropriate for the Relative children and teens. The pictures in this blog tell the real story of how these two companies transformed the space from complete chaos to a beautiful (as beautiful as a Dilworth basement can be) and efficient “clothing room” where the children we serve can immediately find what they need.

RelativAction

RelativeHouse

They designed and implemented a system that is now easily maintainable.

BEFORE1

BEFORE2

We are beyond grateful for the precious time and talents that Simplicity and the College Hunks gave us in order to make a difference for the over 4,000 youth and young adults we serve each year within The Relatives organization!

By Spencer Guthery

 


The Art of Organization & Science:

Project Scientist Logo

Simplicity Organizers Codify Project Scientist’s Educational Supplies

Professional organizers and scientists share some of the same attributes. Both are able to visualize a final outcome – by strategic plan and scientific method respectively – and set a goal to achieve it. Maybe this is what peaked Simplicity Organizers interest in Project Scientist. They jumped at the opportunity to provide the Charlotte non-profit with a donated day of expertise and manpower to develop an organizational system for PS’s expansive experiment supplies.

Project Scientist engages and empowers girls, ages 4-14 that have a passion, talent and aptitude for science, with an opportunity to expand their interests. By offering workshops, after school programs and summer camp opportunities, Project Scientist helps to maintain a keen interest in STEM fields for these talented girls and give them the confidence to pursue science as a career.

With a mission of their own to change their clients’ perspectives on their possessions and help them to identify what is most important, Simplicity Organizers knew they could give Project Scientist a helping hand with moving and organizing their ever-growing experiment supplies to a storage building in NoDa.

Simplicity team member, Betsy House, graciously agreed to take on the task at hand. Along with Deb Fletcher and Katie Puckett, they packed up bins, boxes and loose baggies full of experiment supplies such as batteries, popsicles sticks and balloons. With the help of PS Project Director, Shelly Biby, they moved everything the Uptown office to a 10 by 10 feet storage unit in NoDa.

Project Scientist1

Betsy House, Shelly Biby and Deb Fletcher getting it together at the Project Scientist’s storage facility in NoDa.

“The problem was that they were trying to do too much with one space. The office workspace was cluttered with all the experiment supplies,” House said. Shelly Biby added, “To say it was a little crowed would be an understatement.” The Simplicity team felt that a system needed to be put in place that was intuitive and easy for everyone involved.

Project Scientist 3

The storage hallway was packed with plastic bins and loose experiment items that needed to be separated.

Team leader House comes by her organizational skills honestly. Her background is in the retail industry where she provided wholesaling expertise for Ralph Lauren. The work taught her to visualize clothing displays that allowed for enhanced customer flow. Her planning and visualization skills cross over nicely to her work at Simplicity.

Using six, four-tiered, six feet high wire shelves, team members set about labeling and alphabetizing the experiment supplies. The concept allowed for greater efficiency, especially because Project Scientist relies on volunteers who pull supplies for classes, and then must return them to bins for future use.

Project Scientist 2

Betsy and Deb work organizing plastic bins in alphabetical order.

“The key is maintenance,” added House. “It doesn’t stay organized unless you are diligent about putting stuff away.”

Project Scientist is moving into its busiest season of instruction, five weeks of Project Scientist Academy, their yearly summer camp. Simplicity’s generous donation of time, expertise and manpower is invaluable to the educational experiences of these young scientists. “It’s definitely making a difference already. It’s clear what we have now that each item has its own space. This will make our lives so much easier” Biby said.

For more information about Project Scientist, go to www.projectscientist.org.

Guest Blog by Nancy Thomason


Simplicity Serves a client from the Joe Martin ALS Foundation

Joe Martin ALS

ALS

I am very thankful to Simplicity for taking the time to come out and save me from a disastrous hot mess of what I called a closet.  I moved into our apartment in October 2014, about two weeks after our son was born.  I never had the time to fully unpack, sort, and reorganize anything. Between my 9 year old son, our dog, becoming a new mom again and taking care of my husband Kevin who was recently diagnosed with ALS, I have barely had time to breathe.  I struggle each day to try and achieve a clean, neat, well-organized house. My constant on the go lifestyle and juggling everyday tasks makes it nearly impossible.  Our closet got so out of hand that every time I would walk by it I would just throw something else in and shut the door. I couldn’t even deal with it. I found myself in there some days trying to find things and all I could do was get stressed, turn around, and shut the door.

I knew I needed help, so I called the Joe Martin ALS Foundation and asked for help. Sarah Hayden, with the Foundation, came out that week and we brainstormed ways to help make my life easier. She suggested I contact Simplicity Organizers. I thought the idea was brilliant and was ecstatic at the thought of having professional organizers help me with my closet.

Simplicity Serves ALS

Simplicity Organizers with Melissa Clay (in the middle)

The results were phenomenal!  In a little less than two hours – I could see the floor again. Everything had a place.  Everything was neat, organized and easy to find.  I am extremely pleased with these ladies and the relief it provided.  I was impressed that they even hauled off my donated items and consignment for me.

BEFORE

ALS Closet Before

 

AFTER

 

ALS Closet After

I feel like I can breathe again, and I know it sounds silly that having a messy unorganized closet could cause so much aggravation, but believe me it was a nightmare in my mind. The simple things in life are what matter most! The smallest gesture can make all the difference in the world.  I am thankful and blessed to have the help from the Joe Martin ALS Foundation and Simplicity for making a difference in my family’s life.  I cant thank you enough.

Sincerely,

Melinda Clay